‘Topsy-Turvy’ – Gilbert and Sullivan reborn on Criterion Channel

Set in the world of London theater in the mid-1880s, Topsy-Turvy (1999) tackles the creative partnership between W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, the reigning kings of light operetta, at a turning in their career. Their work has become repetitive, their latest show a disappointment, and the partnership is under strain as composer Sullivan (Allan […]

‘Hot Fuzz’ – British mystery meets Hollywood action on HBO Max and HBO Now

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, as the family hung out the few hours before dinner, my brother and I started telling my dad why he would like Hot Fuzz (2007), a film that otherwise doesn’t appear to be his cup of English tea. It was from the guys who made Shaun of the Dead and […]

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, and others star in the film by Lana and Lilly (formerly Andy) Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

‘Cloud Atlas’ – storytelling across centuries

Cloud Atlas (2012) wants nothing for ambition. Jumping between six distinctive stories in six different eras, with a cast that plays different (yet connected) parts in the various storyline, it’s at once literal and evasive, a film that wears its heart on its beautifully stitched sleeve and its meaning in its design and yet finds […]

Hiromasa Yonebayashi directs the animated fantasy based on the children's novel by British author Mary Stewart

‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’ – a magical odyssey on Netflix

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japan, 2017), the magical fantasy by Japanese animator and filmmaker Hiromasa Yonebayashi (director of the marvelous When Marnie Was There), based on a children’s novel by British author Mary Stewart, follows the adventures of a schoolgirl who receives magical powers for a day from a magical flower that blooms once […]

Charlie Hunnam stars in the 2002 'Nicholas Nickleby' from director Douglas McGrath

Blu-ray: ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ on Twilight Time

Nicholas Nickleby (Twilight Time, Blu-ray) (2002) – You can’t fault Douglas McGrath for his ambition. Determined to bring Charles Dickens’ 900 page semi-autobiographical novel to the screen, he condenses, chops, and briskly skips through what’s left of a dense pattern of improbably colorful characters, and still winds up with a Dickens of a tale. The […]